Russian airstrike hits maternity hospital in Ukrainian city of Mariupol

KYIV, Ukraine – A Russian airstrike hit a maternity hospital in the besieged city of Mariupol and buried people, including children, under rubble, Ukrainian authorities said, marking what is expected to be a more vicious phase of the war. Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Footage released by the Mariupol mayor’s office showed injured people being taken out of the hospital complex, who appeared to be badly damaged by the attack. Footage from the hospital showed a large bomb crater and indications that the explosion, which took place around 5 p.m., had toppled trees and set cars on fire. Details of the victims were not yet available.

Russian forces, bogged down by poor logistics and fierce resistance, have failed to take control of any major Ukrainian city since launching their offensive on February 24. now try to storm them.

It will be “ugly next few weeks,” Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Mariupol faced more than a week of Russian bombardment that cut off access to water and electricity for more than 400,000 people, according to local authorities and people who managed to escape the siege.

Mariupol authorities have so far recovered the bodies of 1,207 civilians since the siege began, and many corpses still lay in the streets in some areas under intense shelling, the deputy mayor of Mariupol said, Serhiy Orlov.

“They want to kill as many civilians as possible. They won’t allow evacuation. They deliberately target queues for water and food,” said Orlov, who spoke by phone from an undisclosed location outside the city. Residents are melting snow to drink water and making fires in their backyards to keep warm and cook meals, he said.

Several attempts to evacuate civilians have failed in recent days as invading Russian forces continued shelling. On Wednesday, Ukrainian and Russian forces reported progress in reaching a ceasefire in several cities, allowing some corridors to be opened. On Wednesday afternoon, ceasefire violations again marred efforts in two of the towns.

People dig through the rubble near homes destroyed by shelling in Sumy, Ukraine.


Photo:

ANDREI MOZGOVOY/REUTERS

A Ukrainian soldier bids farewell at the main train station in Lviv, Ukraine.


Photo:

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Sumy officials said they managed to move around 5,000 residents of the northern city overnight in the face of renewed shelling. A bomb killed 22 people, officials said.

Closer to Kyiv, Russia and Ukraine have agreed to open evacuation routes in several suburbs that have started moving civilians, mostly women and children, to the capital. But by late afternoon fresh fighting had halted movement out of the besieged town of Bucha, where 50 buses were stuck.

Some escapees from the outskirts of Kiev were directed to the capital’s train station, where people were clamoring to board trains.

Areas seized as of Saturday

Directorate of the Invading Forces

Controlled by or allied with Russia

Main crossing points for refugees

Ukrainian territory, recognized by Putin as independent

Chernobyl

Not in operation

Controlled by

separatists

Areas seized as of Saturday

Directorate of the Invading Forces

Controlled by or allied with Russia

Ukrainian territory, recognized by Putin as independent

Main crossing points for refugees

Chernobyl

Not in operation

Controlled by

separatists

Areas seized as of Saturday

Directorate of the Invading Forces

Controlled by or allied with Russia

Main crossing points for refugees

Ukrainian territory, recognized by Putin as independent

Chernobyl

Not in operation

Controlled by

separatists

Areas seized as of Saturday

Directorate of the Invading Forces

Controlled by or allied with Russia

Main crossing points for refugees

Ukrainian territory, recognized by Putin as independent

Areas seized as of Saturday

Directorate of the Invading Forces

Controlled by or allied with Russia

Main crossing points for refugees

Ukrainian territory, recognized by Putin as independent

In Kiev, the main target of the Russian offensive, the streets are now mostly empty, with only soldiers and a few elderly people left behind. A concert in the city’s Independence Square to mark the birthday of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko was met with little attendance except for a scrum of foreign television journalists.

Overnight, the Ukrainian military reported new Russian offensives on all major targets, from Ukraine’s second most populous city, Kharkiv, near the Russian border, to Mariupol.

Russian forces advanced slowly in an effort to encircle Kiev, reaching the outskirts of another suburban town to the west of the city and shelling Ukrainian positions to the southwest near some of the last open roads to the capital .

Russia says it will allow civilians to leave some besieged towns from Wednesday; residents of Mariupol have been without electricity and water for more than a week; satellite images show extensive damage around a bridge leading to Kiev. Photo: Maxar Technologies/AFP

Ukrainian authorities said on Wednesday that a power outage caused by Russian attacks on Kiev could knock out electricity at the Chernobyl nuclear site within 48 hours, leading to a potential meltdown of spent nuclear fuel. The United Nations atomic watchdog said it saw no critical security impact.

The number of people forced to flee Ukraine has topped two million, according to the UN refugee agency, as the civilian toll from the war mounts alongside international efforts to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the Russian offensive.

In the eastern city of Severodonetsk, officials said on Wednesday that 10 people had been killed and eight injured in shelling the previous day. Residents of the eastern city of Izyum said much of the city center had been flattened by artillery strikes and heavy street fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces inside the city.

Among those killed in a bombing in Sumy was a 16-year-old former Ukrainian wrestling sambo champion, who died along with his parents, grandmother and two younger brothers, according to a Facebook post from his trainer.

The US Congress, meanwhile, has agreed to a massive spending package for the current fiscal year, which includes $13.6 billion in support for Ukraine.

Civilians fleeing Irpin, near Kiev, Ukraine.


Photo:

THOMAS PETER/REUTERS

Members of the Territorial Defense Forces train in the use of an anti-tank launcher in Kiev.


Photo:

VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS

On Tuesday, Poland said it would immediately donate its fleet of Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to the United States at Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany, after days of public speculation. about donating the planes to Ukraine and about the possibility of a broader US commitment.

The Pentagon said it was not clear there was “substantial justification” for having Polish jets destined for Ukraine at a US air base, saying such a proposal raised concerns for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies on this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is tenable,” the spokesman said. Pentagon, John Kirby, in a statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned on Wednesday that Ukraine’s use of airfields in other countries would be “a very undesirable and potentially dangerous scenario”.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Wednesday called on people to be more circumspect in discussing arms supplies, at least domestically. “Please don’t spread the word that some countries are supplying arms to our country. Refrain from commenting on this.

The Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers are due to meet Thursday on the sidelines of an international conference in Antalya, Turkey.

Funeral in Lviv for Ukrainian servicemen killed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Photo:

yuriy dyachyshyn/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Write to Alan Cullison at alan.cullison@wsj.com

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